Who should teach ultrasound?
On almost a daily basis, the Animal Ultrasound Association receives membership enquiries from enthusiastic, recently trained individuals who believe that the training they have undertaken enables them to join a professional scanning organisation. Letting these people know that this is often not the case is difficult, and sometimes even confrontational, as people try to tell us that the course they attended was “CPD accredited” or taught by an “experienced” tutor.
There is only one word for somebody who holds a professional qualification in ultrasound, and that is a sonographer. Somebody who has made a scanning booklet and paid to have it CPD accredited is not suddenly qualified to teach ultrasound. CPD is something which is currently being abused in our industry as a way of tricking people into thinking a course has been independently checked: unfortunately, this is not what CPD accreditation does. It is possible to get a course CPD accredited without anyone ever even reading or attending it.
What is a sonographer?
Being a sonographer is like being a lawyer, a doctor, or any other profession that takes years to become qualified in and requires you to continually prove that you are practising, attending conferences or publishing academic work. It’s a vocation – an entire career. It is not something that a non-professional can just pick up and teach.
Can only sonographers scan?
No! You do not have to be a sonographer to perform amazing small animal pregnancy scans. But if the subject is to be taught thoroughly and responsibly with respect to all of the safety considerations that accompany ultrasound, equip you with a strong understanding of all your main controls, and give you confidence in your scanning, then you need to learn from a professional.
If you want your training to be respected and accepted by others in the industry, you need to learn from a professional so that you are able to go on to obtain further training and certifications should you ever wish. You will not be accepted on such courses on the basis of training from somebody with no expertise in the subject.
And if you want to become a member of the Animal Ultrasound Association, you must attend an accredited course. It is telling that, in the 6 years that we have been established, only 3 organisations worldwide have felt confident enough in the quality of their teaching to approach us to get their courses checked and accredited by our sonographers.